The Egg Head Helmet Project
Traffic accidents and head injuries are the number one way kids die in America.
This re-tweak of the traditional Egg Drop project makes it more than just mess and fun by tying it tightly to physics that we are learning for the California standards, and to relevance. Plus mess and fun. Only no Jello, oil and peanut butter. Why mention those? The favorite major mess-makers of previous years 🙂
The activity is modeled on the discovery process that I’ve been reading about in books like Mindset by Carol Dweck, and Ken Robinson’s books on creativity. And the usual biographic sketches of Newton, Gallileo and Einstein in text books. Oh, and Mark Zuckerman of Facebook fame and starring in the movie that came out on Friday.
We start with some instruction and tricks around forces and inertia. We actually use the text a bit. Some video clips from “Understanding Car Crashes – It’s Basic Physics” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
I bring in all the helmets I have – climbing for rock bonk on top of head. Bike for bonk on front of head. Motorcycle for hard bonk anywhere on head.
In one class, they brainstorm ideas. Do some internet research and text reading. Edit their ideas.
At home, they build prototypes, test ’em and settle on a design to build and bring in. We’re lucky, this will work as a homework assignment in this community.
Finally, they will submit a diagram showing the cross section of their ‘helmet and forces on the egg at the moment of impact, plus a hypothesis for why it’s likely to work, using all those science-y terms they’ve been learning like force, impulse, momentum, velocity change etc.
We’ll be testing them from chairs, tables and a balcony at school next Tuesday. Fun! And part of the lead in to the Sports Project, hot on the heels of this.